Why Are Women Better Gamblers Than Men?

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Why Are Women Better Gamblers Than Men?
PRIMORYE TERRITORY, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 2, 2020: Women play at Shambala Casino in the Primorye gambling zone, some 50 km from Vladivostok. The casino is expected to bring more than 120 mln roubles to the regional budget annually, excluding taxes. The total amount of investment in the Primorye gambling zone stands at 117 bn roubles. Yuri Smityuk/TASS (Photo by Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images)

Men are struggling to keep up with women when it comes to healthy habits surrounding gambling. Men struggle far more with gambling than women do. Statistically, when we analyze social factors, men are far more at risk than women to gamble an unhealthy amount and with a greater risk of money. What factors in modern society are causing this, and why are women better gamblers than men? 

Are Women Better Gamblers Than Men?

Let’s start with gender differences in gambling. Looking at raw statistics it makes the conclusion extremely clear that women gamble more safely, and with less risk when compared to men. According to a 2013 study, which was examining gender differences in gambling, they wrote:

“Findings also indicated that 2.9 % of women were problem gamblers compared to 4.2% of men. [A previous study] found that 91% of college men and 84% of college women reported engagement with gambling … Of these emerging adults who gambled, 14% of men and 3% of women gambled at problematic levels.”

It may be no surprise to find that men are also statistically more likely to be interested in sports betting when directly compared to women. In a 2021 study, from Dove Press, they added “Males were more likely to report sports betting. This is consistent with the previous report of men preferring strategy-based and sports-related gambling.” Whereas when women gambled they tended to be more interested in chance-based games, such as what one may find at a casino, like slot machines.

Female Poker Players

What About Online Gambling?

Although, it is very important to note, that the 2013 study findings are not consistent when it comes to online gambling. The more recent 2021 study concludes that when it comes to online casinos women are actually more at risk than men. Dove Press writes:

“Online problem gamblers demonstrates the large clinical need for assessment and treatment in female problem gamblers, and data indicating that the problem picture may be at least as severe – and possibly more severe …psychological distress – compared to men.”

Even given this conclusion, that women are more likely to engage in problematic, habitual, online gambling when compared to men, this study still found that men lost more money and took larger risks than women. Dove Press writes, “Males exhibit larger financial losses in absolute values.” 

These most recent findings also are consistent with a study conducted from Harvard Medical School which found that men consistently lose more money than women when it comes to gambling. Men, on average, will lose $4,870 annually gambling, whereas women lose $3,491. 

Even though women are gambling also, why is it that men are taking more risks and bigger losses? And, why are women better gamblers than men?

online gambling
The Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc online poker app sit on an Apple Inc. iPhone 6 smartphone beside a pint of beer in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, July, 17, 2015. 888 Holdings Plc agreed to buy Bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plc for 898.3 million-pounds ($1.4 billion) in cash and shares, winning over the online gaming company that’s been at the center of a takeover battle. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Social Pressures on Gambling and Gender

“Men are generally greater risk takers than women, they tend to be rather proud of it,” says Dr. Robert Lefever, who is a former gambling addict himself and now is trying to help others recover.

Men will consistently seek out activities that are related to sensation-seeking and risk-taking. Sensation seeking is, “Engaging in new experiences to enhance physical sensations,” such as bungee jumping or skydiving. And, risk-taking “Involves activities in which one must tolerate the possibility of great losses to obtain greater material or psychological gain.”

The above-mentioned 2013 study conclusively found that males, “tend to have higher levels of sensation seeking and risk-taking than women.” And this also links to why men have more reckless driving records and higher rates of substance abuse. Males, and especially young males, tend to engage in these behaviors due to high rates of social anxiety.

“Since gambling is a social activity  and emerging adult men may have higher levels of social anxiety, social anxiety may be the reason emerging adult men have higher levels of gambling involvement. As such, social anxiety was examined as a possible mediator for gender differences in engagement in gambling and in gambling problems.”

Studies repeatedly conclude that men engage in higher amounts of problematic gambling. While females are more likely to take part in online casinos, men will still consistently take higher risks. Likely, the reason is, stress and social anxiety and men are seeking relief. The risk, and sensation, of gambling, is an allure to men that many can not resist.

“I used to boast about how much I had lost,” Dr. Robert Lefever says. “I lost three months’ income on the turn of a card in a poker game. This is not something that I should be proud of.”

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